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The Physics of Sport
Hebrews 12:1-2
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us...
One popular science TV show in the UK suggested that David Beckham was a master of differential calculus in the way he scored goals. Beckham, who played for such major soccer teams as Real Madrid...

A biochemical clue to the death of Robin Williams?

Mark Cadwallader

Viewpoint of Mark Cadwallader, Creation Moments Board Chairman

Why does a loving God allow death and suffering? Last August, the suicide death of actor and comedian Robin Williams had a lot of people asking that question. His passing came as a shock, as indeed it is shocking when anyone takes his own life. As his untimely death reminds us all, something can go deeply wrong within the minds of even those who seem to have everything going for them.

C.S. Lewis said, “If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry on the meaningless flux of atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees.”

Lewis was right. There is something deeper to the minds of people than a meaningless flux of atoms. As we now know, Robin Williams suffered from paranoia and depression, for which he was on prescription medication. But an examination of his brain tissue found that he had also been suffering from “Lewy body dementia”. Symptoms include delusions and hallucinations of people, animals and objects with which the patients often try to converse. The disease is characterized by abnormal proteins in the brain tissue.

Was the biochemical imbalance in the brain of Robin Williams the cause of his suicide – or was something else at work? Could the biochemistry of his brain – of Lewy body proteins, for instance – have been a physical response/reflection of a spiritual source?

The Bible says we are more than just material matter – as C.S. Lewis was pointing out. Our minds go beyond biochemistry. We are not just a body, but we have a soul and a spirit, according to Scripture. And we can be tuned-in to thoughts that originate in the minds of men, or to those that originate in a spiritual dimension.

This may seem paradoxical to modern sensibilities, trained as we are in a scientific worldview. But the Bible tells us that we can “hear” the voice of the Lord (“My sheep hear my voice,” John 10:27) or we can listen to the lies of our adversary and his demonic minions. This is what Jesus meant when he said to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:23) as Peter was trying to tell Him that He did not have to suffer at the hands of the Pharisees and die and be raised again.

So let me suggest a way to bypass what may seem paradoxical in this era of modern medicine. It is not either one or the other, either biochemical or spiritual, but there is both biochemical and spiritual forces at work in our world, with some way of connecting them that escapes our understanding – a connection that cannot be “scientifically” assessed. This is classic technique for the resolution of paradoxes – it’s not either/or, it’s both and more!

We’ve mentioned previously how material things resolve at their most fundamental level into space and energy/vibration. This seems to be the limits to which science can take us – and it is in a direction from the very material to the very immaterial, pointing toward a spiritual reality that is at the root of all things.

We’ve mentioned, for example, that synchronous brainwaves of characteristic frequency and wavelength can be measured using electroencephalography (EEG), with electrodes attached to the scalp. Brainwave frequencies from 4 to 40 hertz are subdivided into alpha, beta, theta and gamma brainwaves depending on whether a person is in deep sleep, dreaming, meditating or in active thought. Could it be that certain brain states are more conducive to “hearing” the spiritual realm? This includes dreaming and meditating, which could be why Scripture has many instances of God speaking to people in dreams and why we are asked by Scripture to “meditate” on God’s Word.

We have also talked in these letters about how the heart is Scripture’s seat for our spirit. And we have mentioned how modern medicine is finding that the heart really is much more than a muscle to pump blood through the body. The heart as muscle-only was the early evolutionists’ idea. Yet we now know that the heart communicates with the entire body through external nerves and hormones, and it emits a large electrical and magnetic field – thousands of times bigger in amplitude than the brainwaves measured by EEG. Measurements are by electrocardiogram (EKG), and can be detected several feet from a person. There are also over 40,000 sensory neurons relaying information from the heart to the brain. And communication between the two organs occurs also through hormones, blood pressure waves, and the electric and magnetic fields.

The Bible says we can understand through our hearts. This relates to a spiritual perception – for example, “… lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them,” Acts 28:27b. We can either understand the spiritual voices out there and heed the Spirit of God or we can be led down a path of lies.

Only God knows the state of Robin Williams’ heart, but his death indicated a very troubled person whose mind and heart became another casualty to a creation marred by sin and deception – just as the opening chapters of Genesis teach us. This is why we must continue to press for the whole truth of creation. The Bible means what it says, and can be trusted as our guide into all truth!